There are very few co-productions between Italy and Germany (or between Austria and Switzerland), they are few and difficult to realize. And while effective tools for developing the same are being prepared (the co-development fund between Italy and Germany that has been talked about for nearly a year is still in the process of be- ing defined), Tax Credits are the glue holding together the two countries, allowing the same to cross borders and work together, especially where they receive adequate support from the region hosting the filming.
This is what basically emerged from the three case histories presented at Incontri#4: three days (from 10- 12 April) when, for the fourth consecutive year, BLS, the South Tyrol Film Commission, brought together in Bolzano around sixty producers from Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, in the Schloss Hotel Korb, Appiano.
“The German regional funds were not enough for us to close a budget of around 7 million Euros, so we immediately considered a co- production. We tried with Austria, but it wasn’t possible”, explain Gabi Lins and Oliver Schündler, the producers for Germany’s Lucky Birds Pictures of “Georg Elser- Es muss sein!” (provisional title). Torsten C. Fischer will shoot the movie about a carpenter who, in 1939, tried to assassinate Hitler with a bomb, missing his target by just 13 minutes, next summer, in South Tyrol.
“If your movie project is not a co-production and it is not essential to shoot in Italy,” says Schündler “it is only worth coming to Italy for attractive cases like this, because the chance of combining the Fund with the Tax Credit makes it possible to replace the FFF in Germany or the FISA in Austria, which you would otherwise lose. With the 500,000 Euros support from BLS the package became much more tempting for us, particularly because we are based in Munich, just three hours by car from South Tyrol. We have had great support in terms of logistics and locations and we even found a location where we could reconstruct the pub where the attack took place, the Burgerboikeller, which no longer exists in Munich.”
Geographical and logistical advantages, but also some disadvantages, adds Gabi Lins:
“The 200,000 Euros of tax credit we are due (we will be spending 800,000 Euros in the region), will not be cash, but a credit to be deductedfromourtaxes. For this reason we have to hire local people or the German staff has to be employed by the Italian service company to which we producers have to pay a fee, a figure that still has to be negotiated and which fluctuates between 8 and 10%, also due to the incredibly complex level of bureaucracy”.
Lucky Birds will probably work with Albolina, a company based in Alto Adige which was set up in 2012, that has already handled the executive production of “Das Finstere Tal” (directed by Andreas Prochaska and produced by Austria’s Vivo Film), a great success at the Berlinale, receiving 9 nominations at the Lola Awards, the German movie awards.
“But the Tax Credit in reality is cash”, underlines Thomas Menghin of Albolina,”because when, on the 16th of the month, you receive the credit note from Rome, that is money you don’t have to pay”.
Albolina worked on “Das Finstere Tal” in tandem with Cattleya, thus saving on the costs of transferring the administrative staff from Rome and, at the same time, benefitting from the advantages of a large company, as Marco Chimenz explains: “What I would do if I were a foreign producer would be to ask BLS for advice so they could direct me towards a reliable company, possibly of such a size as to have a significant cash flow. This year we have produced six movies and two TV series: as we have to pay a very high amount of taxes, we can advance to the foreign producer 25% of the tax credit on local expenditure as well as the 22% of VAT. So it is also possible to have the money in cash, as happened, for example, this summer, when we handled the executive production of the movie Winterbottom filmed in Tuscany”.
Post-production is near completion on “Fuori Mira”, produced by Andres Pfaeffli for the Swiss Ventura Film, a drama thriller by Erik Bernasconi filmed in Merano and Bolzano, about the killing of an African man and the rebellion that broke out in the area in the 24 hours that followed the murder.
“70% of the budget, around 2 million Euros, was covered and the 600,000 Euros of the ‘BLS fund plus Tax Credit pack- age’ allowed us to close it,” says Maja Wieser, executive producer of the film for Echo Film.
“Andres would have realized a co-production but then the tax credit would have been 15% and related only to the Italian share, whereas in this case we got 25% of around 1,200,000 Euros of expenditure sustained in Italy”.
It is certain that working on the executive production of foreign movies helps smaller companies to grow and strengthens the local audiovisual industry (which is the primary aim of BLS).
Even though co-production remains the objective to be pursued when the movie is important for Italy, as Nicola De Angelis of Dap Italy emphasizes, and in the long term for companies that are growing, for which executive production can act as a training ground, as Alessandro Borrelli of La Sarraz points out. In this way the Italian producer can control the life of a movie even after the set has left the country, through rights ownership.
FILMED IS SOUTH TYROL/TWO MOVIES AT CANNES
“Sils Maria”by Olivier Assayas and “Turist” by Ruben Östlund: these are the two productions filmed in South Tyrol with the support of BLS selected for the Cannes Film Festival.
“Sils Maria”, the screenplay of which was written by Assayas himself, is in competition .
It stars Juliette Binoche, who plays Maria Enders, an actress who became a stage success at the age of 18 with “Maloja Snake”, a play which will go on to affecther whole life, and which she will be asked to act in again twenty years later, at the height of her career.
The movie, which also stars Kristen Steward, Chloë Grace Moretz, Tom Sturridge and Lars Eidinger, is a French-German co-production by Pallas Film GmbH and CG Cinéma SA, which has received support amounting to 350,000 Euros from BLS. It was shot in Val Gardena, more precisely around Col Kaiser, at the Juac refuge, the Hotel Grödnerhof in Ortisei and the Parkhotel Laurin in Bolzano.
“Turist” a co-production between Sweden’s Plattform Produktion Limited Company, Denmark’s Coproduction Office, France’s Société Parisienne de Production and Germany’s Essential Film – with 100,000 Euros of financing from BLS – filmed in South Tyrol at the Stelvio Pass, is in the “Un Certain Regard” section.
The movie is about the winter holiday of a happy family which is suddenly turned upside down by the threat of an avalanche that might hit the mountain refuge where the protagonists are having lunch.
In the meantime, work is coming to an end in and around Bolzano in South Tyrol, on “Vergine giurata” (provisional title), by Laura Bispuri, with Alba Rohrwacher. With support amounting to 198,000 Euros from BLS , the movie is produced by Vivo Film in co-production with Colorado Film Production, Switzerland’s Bord Cadre Films, France’s Arizona Productions and Albania’s Erafilm SH.P.K. Alba Rohrwacher (alongside Elio Germano) also stars in the new movie by Claudio Cupellini, provisionally entitled “Alaska”, produced by Indiana Production Company in co-production with France’s 2.4.7. Films SAS, and financed by BLS to the tune of 350,000 Euros. Filming began mid-May in Bolzano and Merano and will continue for three weeks.
In the meantime, in June, “Luis Trenker – Der schmale Grat der Wahrheit” (provisional title), by Wolfgang Murnberger, will travel to Lake Carezza,Val d’Ega, Val Gardena, the Alpe di Siusi and Bolzano. The movie recounts the relationship between the mountaineer and director Luis Trenker and the young, ambitious Leni Riefenstahl.
BLS support for the movie, which is produced by Germany’s Roxy Film, in co-production with Austria’s EPO Film, amounts to 700,000 Euros.
This summer South Tyrol will also be hosting a wealth of sets supported by BLS: coming soon we have “The Way of the Eagle” (provisional title), with Jean Reno and Tobias Moretti, to be filmed by Gerardo Olivares for four weeks in June, produced by Austria’s Terra Mater Factual Studios, the dramatic comedy “Honig im Kopf ” (provisional title), by Til Schweiger, produced by Berlin’s Barefoot Films (ten days of filming in the middle of June), and “Georg Elser – Es muss sein!” (provisional title), by Torsten C. Fischer, produced by Germany’s Lucky Bird Pictures.